Jury selection is scheduled to begin on Monday in the highly anticipated murder trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin for George Floyd’s death.
Officials in Minnesota are in a state of high security alert for this trial, which ignited riots throughout the summer in Democrat-run cities across America and initiated worldwide protests for racial equality and fighting against police brutality.
HERE IS SOME INFORMATION ABOUT THE TRIAL:
Jury selection starts Monday morning in Hennepin County District Court in Minnesota. Opening arguments are scheduled to begin not before March 29, however, they could be delayed because of a Court of Appeals decision last week that ruled the Hennepin District Judge Peter Cahill made an error when he dismissed an additional charge of third-degree murder against Chauvin and that could result in additional legal challenges and delays.
However, a judge ruled on Monday that jury selection can continue even while the legal issue over the third-degree murder charge makes its way up the ladder to the higher courts.
WHERE CAN WE WATCH THE TRIAL?
CourtTV will stream the trial live and you can watch it by clicking here.
HYou can also watch here:
Though potential jurors will not be shown on camera, CourtTV will provide live coverage of just selection where it is expected that they will be asked if they ever joined in the George Floyd protests.
The trial is expected to last anywhere between two and four weeks according to court officials.
Chauvin, the former Minnesota police officer, 44, is accused of pressing his knee to the back of Floyd’s neck for 9 minutes while Floyd was handcuffed, until such time that he died while in police custody. Video of the incident went viral in minutes and let to global protests.
Officer Chauvin, who was fired after the incident that led to Floyd’s death, has been charged with second-degree murder and manslaughter. Depending on how Judge Cahill rules or even as the result of a possible appeal, the third-degree murder charge could be added back into the mix of charges for the jurors to consider.
COVID-19 social distancing guidelines will be adhered to during jury selection, and there will be other precautions applied due to the high profile of this tense trial. Because of those restrictions, potential jurors will be individually interviewed with eight potentials being asked questions by lawyers for the prosecution and the defense each day. According to the Star Tribune, the people being interviewed for jury duty will be called by a number instead of their name to protect their identities.
There will be 12 jurors impaneled with four alternates, which is two more than usual.
With respect to social distancing requirements, space will be limited.
WHO WILL BE IN THE COURTROOM?
Besides the judge and other court personnel necessary to the proceedings, Chauvin and his attornies will be present in the courtroom, as well as prosecutors from the state Attorney General’s office along with special attorneys who have been assigned to the case.
As for family members, just one family member from Floyd’s family and from Chauvin’s family will be allowed to be physically inside the courtroom at a time. There will also be two seats reserved for members of the news media who will rotate among a pool of reporters.
There will be a very large show of law enforcement inside and outside of the courthouse to provide an unparalleled set of security measures. Law enforcement personnel will comprise of members from Minneapolis police, Minnesota state troopers, Hennepin County sheriff’s deputies, and National Guard troops. There are also concrete barriers surrounding the courthouse along with barbed wiring and security fencing outside all five of Minneapolis’s police precincts.
The other three former Minneapolis police officers, J. Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane and Tou Thao, who were at the scene of Floyd’s death will be tried separately after Chauvin’s trial has concluded. They are charged with aiding and aiding and abetting unintentional second-degree murder.